The ever-affable Will Smith has taken to his role as a judge at one of the most prestigious annual film festivals in the world, silencing the numerous reports on whether he is fit to judge, after crowds of fans, and fellow judges all fell under his spell on day one of the event.
From 17 May to 28 May, some of the biggest names in the film industry all converge at the playground of the rich and famous in the south of France. The jury members, which include the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor, actress Jessica Chastain and this year’s president, Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar will judge 17 movies, but only one will receive the Palme D’Or.
Critics have claimed the actor is an awkward choice, as he is the only one that has not won or previously been nominated in the festival, but he seems more than determined to do a good job, telling a news conference he is ready to learn.
“West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes. The Cannes Film Festival is the ultimate prestige in cinema, so I am excited to be here, more than anything to learn.”
Each year, the jurors are compelled to agree on what film to award the title, notoriously creating tensions among the members.
The star has already started a little controversy amongst the jurors, standing up for Netflix, as fellow judge Almodovar considered it a threat to movie theatres.
The actor weighed in on the subject, saying his children have not replaced going to the cinema with online streaming websites.
“In my home, Netflix has had absolutely no effect on what they go to the movie theatre to watch,” he said. “They go to the movie theatre to be humbled in front of certain images and there’s other films that they prefer to watch at home and there’s really little, to no cross.”
This year’s competition includes film Good Time, by director Benny and Josh Safdie, starring Captain Phillip’s Barkhad Abdi, Wonderstruck directed by Todd Haynes featuring Lauren Ridloff, and Bong Joon-ho’s Okja starring Giancarlo Esposito.